Prisoner with Ebola symptoms escapes

Aug. 3, 2012 at 5:50 PM
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KAGADI, Uganda, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A prisoner suspected of infection with the Ebola virus escaped from a Ugandan hospital Friday, health officials said.

"Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry. So right now, we have resolved that the remaining prisoners will be cuffed on the beds for fear that they might also escape," said Health Commissioner Jackson Amune, CNN reported.

The fugitive is one of five prisoners suspected of having the virus, along with another 25 patients at the hospital. They have been presenting Ebola-like symptoms, including fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

"We do expect the number of suspected cases to increase," Dr. Dan Kyamanywa, a district health officer in Kagadi, said Thursday. "It's important to break transmission and reduce the number of contacts that suspected cases have."

At least 16 people have died in the district.

"Right now there is no treatment for Ebola, so the most effective measure we can take is to contain the spread of the disease," Olimpia de la Rosa, the group's emergency coordinator for Uganda Ebola intervention, told CNN. "That is why we need to start working immediately. Other cases need to be rapidly identified because containment is what can stop it."

The government has urged people in western Uganda to use public transportation only when they really need to and has suspended market day.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is an untreatable and often fatal viral disease. It is relatively rare, and diagnosis can be hard because the early symptoms tend to resemble those of other more common diseases.

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